The Groundsman

December 2014

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IOG BEST PRACTICE 14 the Groundsman December 2014 Visit for more information and digital editions he opportunity to help tend a cricket pitch in Australia convinced Martin Stephenson that groundsmanship was the career for him. As a keen sportsman especially adept at cricket, he had planned to become a PE teacher and it was while awaiting confirmation for a sports science degree placement at Sunderland University that, as an 18-year-old, he was offered the chance to go to Australia for seven months under the jurisdiction of the Durham Cricket Academy. "I was based at Bentley Cricket Club, part of the West Australian Suburban Turf Cricket Association," says Martin, "and like most youngsters in that position I needed some spending money. The opportunity arose to help care for the ground – Bentley has one natural pitch and an artificial surface – and I jumped at it, sharing the job with another lad from the UK. I continued to play cricket, of course, but I soon discovered that I was beginning to really enjoy groundscare while gaining plenty of tips and hints from the Bentley team. "When I eventually got back to Sunderland, I fully intended to pick up the university course (I had played cricket at all grades from county school level, but realised I wasn't going to make it 'big time') then I was contacted by Ashbrooke Sports Club, which is near to where I live. Ashbrooke, a historic sports club established in 1887, offered me a position and I decided to give it a go." T Martin Stephenson is a young man on a mission: his quest to progress in groundsmanship is based on an unerring desire for perfect playing surfaces By: Colin Hoskins Martin is a man on a mission Former county school cricketer Martin moved to Ashbrooke Sports Club to pursue a career in groundsmanship

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